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Safe Food Mela was hosted by prominent organic outlets, organic farmer groups, safe food campaigners at Semmozhi Poonga (formerly known as Woodlands Drive-in), Chennai on 24 June 2012. The aim of the mela was to create awareness on Chennai_Safe_Food_Mela_Pesticide_Free_1

  • uses of organic foods including fresh greens, vegetables, fruits.
  • availability of traditional rice, millets.
  • kitchen, terrace, urban gardening.
  • pesticides used in our food and the side effects caused.
  • Genetically Modified foods.

Some of the Safe Food campaigners are: India for Safe Food, Safe Food Alliance, ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture).

Here are some photographs of the Safe Food Mela.

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Thakkali Thokku/Spicy Tomato Spread

Thakkali_Thokku_Spicy_Tomato_Spread_1Thakkali Thokku is a typical Indian pickle/chutney/spread. It goes well with rice, roti, idli, dosa, bread and so on. As a spread this suits to all Indian food as a side dish. I prepare this mostly when tomatoes are available at lesser price during the season. This can be preserved in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Without refrigeration this has to be consumed within a week.

Tomato is known as Thakkali (தக்காளி) in Tamil.


  • Tomato (sour variety) – 12 no
  • Green chilli – 15 no (adjust as per need)
  • Asafetida powder – half teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – quarter teaspoon
  • Tamarind paste – quarter teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Pickle powder – 1 tablespoon (one teaspoon fenugreek, half teaspoon each of cumin and mustard; all roasted and powdered)
  • Salt – as per need
  • For seasoning
    • Mustard – 1 teaspoon
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Sesame oil – 5 tablespoon

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Colorful Mixed Fruit Custard

Colorful_Mixed_Fruit_Custard_1Custard is a simple, easy to prepare dessert. The fruit custard is a less-fat, milk based healthy dessert. It tastes divine in summer, as it is chilled and served. Everyone including children likes this custard.

As custard powder is readily available in market in different flavors, it can be prepared easily at home at short notice. Other ingredients like milk, sugar and fruits (better to use seasonal fruits) are generally available at home.


  • Milk – 500 ml
  • Sugar – 4 tablespoon or as per need
  • Custard powder – 3 tablespoon
  • Chopped pistachio – 1 tablespoon
  • Chopped apple – half cup
  • Pomegranate – half cup
  • Chopped papaya – half cup
  • Chopped water melon – 2 tablespoon
  • Seedless black grapes – 20 to 25 no
  • Banana (ripe) – 1 no

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Rajasthan Delicacy: Gatte Ki Kadhi

Rajasthan_Delicacy_Gatte_Ki_Kadhi_1Gatte Ki Kadhi is a wonderful side dish. This dish comes very handy when there is sudden shortage of vegetables. Curd, gram flour and spices are used to prepare this colourful kadhi. This Rajastani delicacy suits well with rice or chapati. Though the list of ingredients is long, all the ingredients are generally available at home and it can be prepared in short time.

There may be slight variations in spices, as it varies from home to home in preparing this kadhi.


  • For gatte
    • Gram flour (besan) – 1 cup
    • Turmeric powder – pinch Rajasthan_Delicacy_Gatte_Ki_Kadhi_2
    • Red chilli powder – half teaspoon
    • Cooking soda – pinch
    • Carom seeds – few
    • Thick curd – 2 tablespoon
    • Salt – as per need
    • Cooking oil – 2 tablespoon
  • For gravy and seasoning
    • Thick curd – 1 cup
    • Gram flour (besan) – 1 tablespoon
    • Turmeric powder – quarter teaspoon
    • Coriander powder – one tablespoon
    • Red chilli powder – quarter teaspoon or as per need
    • Garam masala powder – half teaspoon Rajasthan_Delicacy_Gatte_Ki_Kadhi_3
    • Red chilli – 2 no
    • Mustard – quarter teaspoon
    • Cumin – quarter teaspoon
    • Bay leaf – one
    • Garlic – 2 no
    • Green chilli – 1 no
    • Ginger –  small piece
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoon chopped
    • Asafetida – generous pinch
    • Salt – as per need
    • Oil – 2 tablespoon

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Aam_Achar_North_Indian_Green_Mango_Pickle_Maangai_Oorukai_1Pickle is a necessary side dish in all the Indian meals. Indian Cuisine is very famous for its spicy hot pickles with variety of vegetables. These pickles differ in taste from region to region with unique taste and flavor. South Indian pickle tastes very different from a north Indian pickle. Every summer almost all homes are busy in preparing these pickles. We love the north Indian version of mango pickles for their nice flavor and mustard oil taste.

This Aam ka Achar – North Indian Green Mango Pickle/Maangai Oorukai needs to be prepared in two phases (Preparation and Seasoning).

Mango is known as Manngai (மாங்காய்) in Tamil and as Aam in Hindi. Pickle is known as Oorukai/urugai (ஊறுகாய்) in Tamil and as Achar in Hindi.

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Spicy_Cauliflower_Potato_Aloo_Gobi_Fry_1Cauliflower and potato are the best combo to make a side dish more popular among guests. Here is Spicy Cauliflower and Potato (Aloo Gobi) Fry, a different stir fry to match as a side dish to all Indian food.

Cauliflower is known as ‘phool gobi’ and potato is known as ‘aloo’ in Hindi.

I used cauliflower florets more, to make this dish tasty and attractive.

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  • Medium size cauliflower chopped – 1 no
  • Potato – 2 no
  • Onion – 1 no
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ (quarter) teaspoonSpicy_Cauliflower_Potato_Aloo_Gobi_Fry_4
  • Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander leaves – few to garnish
  • Salt – as per need
  • To wet grind
    • Grated coconut – ½ (half) cup
    • Green chilli – 3 no
    • Fennel seed – 1 teaspoon
  • For seasoning
    • Cinnamon – small piece
    • Cloves – 4 no
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Oil – 1 tablespoon

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Boiled_Sweet_Potato_Sarkarai_Valli_sakkaraivalli_Kizhangu_1Sweet potato is a starchy, sweet root vegetable used in many cuisines. The sweet potato looks pink outside and slightly yellow/white inside. It contains beta carotene and some minerals. Sweet potato can be boiled and served as snack. As it tastes sweet, children like it very much.

Sweet potato is known as ‘Sarkarai Valli Kizhangu’ (சர்க்கரை வள்ளி கிழங்கு) in Tamil and as ‘Shakarkand’ in Hindi.


  • Sweet potatoes – 500 gram
  • Salt – generous pinch


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We know that corn can be used to produce automobile fuel ethanol.Tata_Motors_Use_Cornstarch_Improve_Car_Safety_1

Now Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile producer is working on using cornstarch to make car body parts to improve safety of the vehicle. They have found that cornstarch can increase the crash resistance of cars. This can save the occupants of the car in case of an accident.

tata_logoTata Motors is already using cornstarch based material in small cars for proto-testing. It is expected to be a reality by the end of 2012.

Read more from Tata Group: Now, drive cars built on cornstarch.

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Eggless Orange, Raisin and Pistachio Cake

Eggless_Orange_Raisin_Pistachio_Cake_1Cakes taste better when we add fruits. Fresh fruits make the cake softer and flavorful.

Here I baked Eggless Orange Raisin and Pistachio Cake with fresh orange juice and orange zest. This orange cake was so soft and every member of my family loved it very much.

I used a fresh orange to extract juice and orange zest.

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  • All purpose flour – 1½ (one and half) cup
  • Fresh orange juice  –  ½ (half) cup
  • Powdered Sugar – ¾ (three by fourth) to 1 cup (adjust as per sweetness of orange juice)
  • Salt-less butter – ⅓ (one third) cup
  • Warm water – ½ (half) cup
  • Orange zest – 1 tablespoon
  • Roasted Semolina/rava – 1 heaped tablespoon
  • Baking powder – 1½ (one and half) teaspoon
  • Baking soda – ¾ (three by fourth) teaspoon
  • Pistachio and raisins, chopped – 1 tablespoon each
  • Saffron colour – pinch
  • Salt – pinch

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Maravalli/Kappa Kizhangu Adai (Tapioca Pancake)

Maravalli_Kappa_Kizhangu_Adai_Tapioca_Pancake_1Tapioca pancake is easy to make as the ingredients needed are normally available at home.

Tapioca is called as Kappa Kizhangu (கப்ப கிழங்கு) or Maravalli Kizhangu (மரவள்ளி கிழங்கு) in Tamil.

I used grated tapioca in this pancake. You can easily wash, peel the skin and grate tapioca as shown below:

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  • Skin peeled and grated tapioca – 2 cup
  • Rice – half cup Maravalli_Kappa_Kizhangu_Adai_Tapioca_Pancake_5
  • Toor dal – 1 heaped tablespoon
  • Bengal gram – 1 heaped tablespoon
  • Urad dal skinned – 1 heaped tablespoon
  • Fennel seed – 1 heaped table spoon
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Red chilli – 4 no
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Salt – as per need
  • Oil – to cook pancakes

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